NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sigma Life Science today announced a licensing deal with King's College London for the development and commercialization of technology to identify and validate miRNA targets in research and clinical diagnostics.
The technology was developed at the division of cancer studies at King's College. No further details about the technology or terms of the deal were disclosed.
miRNAs are critical regulators of gene expression in eukaryotic cells, and aberrant expression in miRNAs has been implicated in numerous disease states, making them important targets in clinical research in oncology, wound healing, and infectious disease, according to Sigma Life Science, the biological products and services research business of Sigma-Aldrich. However, the specific targets of most miRNAs are unknown, and current methods of identifying miRNA targets are "laborious and inefficient" relying on computer algorithms and validation by in vitro assays, the company added.
In a statement, Joop Gaken, lead researcher on the project at King's College, said that the method developed by him and his colleagues "is expected to enable the straightforward identification of target genes that are strongly regulated by a given miRNA, helping to elucidate important gene regulation events in vivo."